Civic Facility is Iconic New Landmark. Synergistic Vision Realized via Madras City Hall and Police Station Project.


The long-cherished vision of a new City Hall and Police Station in Madras has been realized with an instantly iconic landmark off E Street officially open for business and providing a fresh modern face for the community. Story by Simon Mather CBN Feature Writer

The 15,000 square foot municipal hub, designed by Steele Associates Architects as part of a coordinated master plan, replaces the dilapidated “cobbled together” buildings on D Street which for many years housed the city and police administrations in cramped conditions.

Those formerly occupied structures totaling 7,000 square feet actually sat in the flood way, were seismically unsafe and had been identified as grossly inefficient, outdated and inadequate to deal with growing civic needs, and are now set to be demolished with the help of a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant.

One striking feature of the new project is a public plaza – complete with power hook-ups and already accommodating a regular schedule of open-air markets – which promises to act as a “living room for the community” observed Steele Associates Principal Scott Steele, and which seamlessly flanks existing veterans’ memorials.

The plaza also incorporates pavers depicting the confluence of the Deschutes, Metolius and Crooked Rivers flowing towards a central lobby gallery cutting through the new building and linking the city and police wings, featuring wood truss and mountain silhouette accents reminiscent of the area’s rail history and topography.

Other nods to the local environment as part of the design integration include custom tapered structural board form concrete piers, which Steele sees as evoking the tuff ashfall-formed cliffs framing Lake Billy Chinook, and strategically placed boulders echoing the Central Oregon Cascade Range backdrop.

The old City headquarters had long been identified as too small and inadequate for the community’s evolving requirements, while the sturdy new facility has bigger offices and spacious council chambers complete with the latest audio-visual technology, and is more functional for meeting spaces.

The police department also has vastly benefitted from the overhaul and now has an evidence storage room and interview rooms with video equipment, among other hi-tech and efficiency promoting new features.

On a macro level, City officials say a huge impact of the project is in offering better working conditions for city staff and police.

Additionally, the police department now has separate secure covered parking and access for emergency responders right off the highway.

The dual function facility employs a significant sustainability factor and was built to meet elevated environmental design criteria, including high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, low-flow plumbing features, use of local building materials, sensor controlled lighting systems and maximization of natural light.

Ground was broken on the project in January 2011 by Bend-based CS Construction, which had emerged as the winning bidder for the project and construction spanned approximately a year.

Madras City Administrator Gus Burril said: “This facility went through a detailed master planning process with the City Council and staff on the needs of the organization and how to better serve the community.

“The Council Chambers also setup for multi-purpose community meetings in addition to regular City Council meetings, and are able to seat twice as many visitors as our prior location so we do not have to ask citizens to stand for the community meetings.

“Within City Hall we now have public works administrative staff in addition to Community Development, Accounting, Recorder and Administrative staff to better serve customers.

“The Police Department is now also providing safer working conditions for officers, added space for citizens to meet with an officer, improved facilities for evidence storage and interviewing; a training room that can have regional public safety training and can serve as an incident response center for a regional disaster.

“We hope citizens will appreciate the facility for its ability to better serve the community.”

Community Development Director Nicholas Snead added: “This great new building fundamentally improves our ability to serve the public. It is amazing that the quality of service was maintained in the old environment, but we are now proud to serve our citizens with the dignity they deserve.”

Madras Police Chief Tom Adams also hailed his department’s new facility as providing an environment for his staff to work more safely and effectively, as well as strengthening morale and professionalism and offering wider community benefit, including economically through hosting training programs and conferences for other law enforcement agencies.

He welcomed the fact that the 5,900-square-foot police department, entered from the east side of the lobby, now encompasses a waiting room, conference rooms so officers can interview people in a more private setting, additional work areas, storage areas, recharging stations, training room, and locker rooms complete with showers.

He added: “We are positioned to grow as a department and become even better.

“Our old space offered little privacy, but now we can offer more confidentiality and comfort, and a safer working environment for officers which allows us to be even more professional and efficient.

“I have been impressed with the functionality and efficiency of the layout of the new design, and its practicality is off charts.

“We have a relatively veteran experienced crew already delivering a professional service. Most of the guys are from this community. This is an investment in the community and helps elevate professionalism even further. Presence is important and we are extremely proud of what this represents.

“This is the culmination of a truly collaborative process and the story of this building has just begun, and will last for many years to come.”

Burril added that the police department now had the ability to certify best practices, which wasn’t previously feasible given the constraints of the former base.

Planning for the new facility stretches all the way back to the 1980s, when staff originally identified the need for a new city hall.

Former Mayor Rick Allen helped facilitate the original land swap with the school district to free up the earmarked central site several administrations ago.

Under the guidance of Allen and former City Administrator Mike Morgan, the city embarked on an ambitious urban renewal plan to revitalize the city – including a policy that civic facilities should be kept in the downtown area.

In the same vein, trails and parks were rated as of prime importance and have been substantially increased since the City council, in 2004, adopted a master plan to address needs and make improvements.

Rural Development backed the City Hall and Police Station project with a low-interest loan, which in tandem with a low-interest revenue bond, other federal sources and funds set aside by the city allowed progress to move forward.

“It was a long time coming, and involved lots of different people – many mayors, city councilors and city staff, as well as the community,” said Madras Mayor Melanie Widmer.

“It’s a big step. I always believe that a community deserves public spaces that they can be proud of, and our former facility really wasn’t that. So this is just a huge improvement — very professional, functional and beautiful.”

“I’m just looking forward to putting a better face on Madras, so that when people come through, they can see something really professional and well thought-out and portrays a better image of our community.

“The contractor’s done a really nice job and the facility is just beautiful and offers great views from the enormous windows.

“The council chamber will be the biggest change for us; it’s a vast improvement. It’s big enough for everybody that needs to be there and the council can see the full staff.”

Scott Steele added, “It is wonderful to see this project finally come to fruition to provide facilities the community deserves.

“I think the public plaza will also become an important gathering place, with the location giving a focus to downtown and serving as a catalyst for continued development in the city core area.

“This was a great council, police and community to work with, and the overall result was very cost-effective and something that was really needed and raises pride in the community.”

Vicki Walker, state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, commented: “This beautiful, modern facility stands as a municipal gateway for the city of Madras.

“I like to think of it also as a testimonial to the civic capacity — the terrific local leadership and public involvement — that have made all this happen.”

Madras City Hall/Police Station/Public Plaza

Corner of Fourth & E Streets

Property Owner/Developer:  City of Madras

Contractor: CS Construction 

Project Cost: $4 million

Sitework: Start: 2012 

Completion: 2012

Square Footage: 16,000

Amenities: Hi-tech Council Chamber, public plaza, very energy efficient and sustainable.

Financing: USDA, Key Bank

Project Manager: Matt Cohen 

Supervisor: Kenny Rice 

Engineer: Tracy Davis 

Architect: Steele Associates Architects 

Principal Architect: Team: Scott Steele, Jeff Wellman, Emily Freed, Steve Olson 

Structural Engineer: Froelich Consulting Engineers 

Civil Engineer: Hickman Williams & Associates 

Mechanical Engineer: Interface Engineering

Landscaping: WH

Subcontractors and Suppliers:

AM-l Roofing, Inc. Aurora Painting, Inc., Clasic Coverings & Design, Inc., Gowdy Brothers Electric, Inc., Kevin Spencer Masonry, McKenzie Waterproofing, Inc., North country Building Specialties, LLC, Western Protective Coatings, LLC, Wilson Curb, Inc., Baxter Buildings, LLC, Moye’s Drywall, Fabulous Floors, Inc., ConSeal, Inc., Cement Elegance, Alpine Glass, Devco Engineering, Inc., American Sprinklers, Inc., Baldwin Custom Welding & Designs, ProShop Millwork & Design, Central Oregon Heating and Cooling, Davidson’s Masonry, Inc., Alex Hodge Construction, Inc., 7 Peaks Paving, LLC, Ogden Construction, Interstate Fence company, Aspen Landscape Development, Round Butte Seed Growers, Inc., All Seasons Insulation, H2 Wall Systems.


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